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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Bravo's Top Chef Judge Nilou Motamed Honors Fatima Ali's "Boundless Energy, Passion, and Unimaginable Bravery"

The Bravo's Top Chef judge will always remember these moving words from the Season 15 contestant.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Celebrating the Life of Bravo's Top Chef Alum Fatima Ali

As tributes continue to pour in for Fatima Ali following her passing on January 25, it's clear that the winner of Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 Fan Favorite title will be remembered not only for her culinary expertise but also for the joy she brought to the world.

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Nilou Motamed, who served as a guest judge in Season 15 before becoming Top Chef's newest recurring judge in Season 16, shared how Fatima touched her life in the time she knew her. "Today, the @bravotopchef family is heartbroken at the loss of dear Fatima Ali after a courageous battle with cancer," she shared on Instagram on January 25. "@cheffati touched so many with her boundless energy, passion, and unimaginable bravery."

Fatima's writings have especially inspired many people. Nilou shared on Instagram some of the late chef's "beautiful words" that will stay with her in particular: “I know the thought of an ordinary existence makes your skin crawl, but sometimes you have to keep it simple, slow down, and don't take things so seriously. It may seem like a lot. Almost too much for you at times, but I'm here to tell you that with the love and support of your family, friends and well-wishers, that chain becomes a meager string around your neck. You are no longer shackled against your will. You no longer wear your chains with grace. You are grace itself.”


Fatima, who placed seventh in Season 15 of Top Chef and was voted Fan Favorite, passed away on January 25 after a battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer. Since Fatima's passing, those who knew and loved her have been sharing their favorite memories of the late chef, from her fellow Season 15 Cheftestants to Top Chef judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons to Ellen DeGeneres.

If you would like to donate to the Sarcoma Foundation of America, visit

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